I am always looking out for new experiences, wherever I may find myself.
Published October 16th 2018
On a recent walk along Marine Parade in Manly, I noticed a lot of small animal sculptures along the stone wall beside me. Guessing they were part of some sort of special walk, I did a little research and got my answer; it's the Cabbage Tree Bay Eco-Sculpture Walk.
This walk is located along the Shelly Beach end of Marine Parade, a waterfront path that connects Shelly Beach to Manly Beach and is also known as the Cabbage Tree Bay Coastal Walk. The sculptures dot the man-made rock walls that separate the sheer cliff faces along here.
The sculptures are small, but if you keep an eye out, you'll find them all along the rock walls near Shelly Beach.
The sculpture walk consists of eleven sculptures in total. There are quite a few animals, like a little penguin, a bandicoot, an octopus and a seadragon, but there's also plants, divers and a surfer. Combined, they serve to highlight the area's marine life and history.
Next to the walk is Cabbage Tree Bay, twenty hectares of aquatic reserve that aims to protect marine life. On this walk, you'll see some of the creatures that it's helping.
I found that looking out for these sculptures was an enjoyable addition to the beautiful Cabbage Tree Bay Coastal Walk, which is already a popular attraction. I challenge you to see how many you can find (I failed to find all eleven, though I only learnt through later research just how close I came to finding them all).
If you're in the area, other things that you might want to do include going swimming or snorkelling at Shelly Beach (it's calmer than Manly Beach, full of marine life and relatively shallow). A small grassy area behind the beach has barbecues and tables so you can have a picnic, or you can head to the other side of Shelly Beach and try out Shelly Beach Walking Track, a bush track with some great views of the area. On my visit, I chose to have lunch at The Boathouse Shelly Beach, right at the end of Marine Parade, which serves healthy (and affordable) breakfast and lunch daily.
Shelly Beach is on the northern side of North Head, and there are quite a few attractions up there you might also want to see. A walking track from Shelly Beach will take you to North Fort (though I suggest driving). Once an army base, North Fort was part of an extensive coastal defence system in WWII and you can do tours of it and the surrounding area today. Also up on the headland are Q Station and North Head Lookout (which offers incredible views of Sydney Harbour and is accessible via Fairfax Track).